CLEVELAND — To mark National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, Gov. Mike DeWine made a swing through Northern Ohio on Tuesday, holding two separate events with members of his Lead Advisory Committee.
DeWine's first stop was at Cleveland Clinic Children's, where he heard from the Cleveland Lead Coalition on their plans to disseminate their state and federal resources to address lead poisoning.
Over the next two years, Ohio will invest $5 million per year to provide a lead abatement tax credit, allowing eligible individuals to receive an income tax credit worth up to $10,000 for costs related to home lead abatement.
DeWine's visit to Cleveland preceeds a planned ceremony at City Hall on Wednesday as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will present a $9.7 million dollar grant to Mayor Frank Jackson and council leaders. The grant is designed to protect families and children living in housing with health hazards, including lead.
With the help of the grant, homes in Cleveland neighborhoods will undergo a comprehensive plan that includes lead poisoning prevention, weatherization, energy conservation and rehabilitation in the homes of the city’s most at risk, low-income residents. Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood, which has had historically bad levels of lead poisoning, is a primary focus of the grant.
The next stop for DeWine and the committee was Marshall STEMM Academy in south Toledo for a 30-minute tour, followed by a roundtable discussion to try and come up with ways the state can help individual communities battle the lead problem, which targets everyone but especially puts kids in harm's way.
"When you have children who are exposed to lead paint, this could be a permanent drop in IQ, it can be a permanent challenge for them for the rest of their lives," DeWine told the gathering in Toledo. "It's not that they don't have a future but many times they're not going to be able to live up to the future that they would have had if they had not been exposed to the lead paint."
The Lead Advisory Committee includes doctors, housing and construction professionals and elected leaders. The committee plans to meet monthly and DeWine says he hopes to start distributing funding to communities to get rid of the toxic danger.
“The Lead Advisory Committee was created to build on the investments included in my budget to make more of Ohio’s homes lead-safe for children and families,” Governor Mike DeWine said. “It is crucial that members of the committee meet with people on the frontlines, working with those who have been affected by lead poisoning.”